Detectives investigating the theft of a car in a burglary in Leeds uncovered a ‘chop shop’ containing thousands of pounds worth of stolen car parts from across the county.
Officers from Leeds District Crime Team traced a BMW X5, which had been stolen from Low Lane, Horsforth, to an address in Shetclffe Lane, Bradford, where it had been hidden behind older damaged vehicles and was bearing false registration plates.
Jason Hodgen, 27, was arrested when he returned to the address and produced a key for the vehicle.
He told officers he had bought the car but did not know it was stolen.
A search of the property showed the rear garden was being used as a ‘chop shop’ for dismantling stolen cars, with parts found in various locations.
Also located in the house was cannabis which was worth between £12,240 and £14,340.
Cannabis growing equipment and weighing scales were also seized.
Work by officers linked the stolen car parts, valued at £75,000, to burglaries in Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Dewsbury and South Yorkshire.
Hodgen, of Shetcliffe Lane, Bradford, was charged with offences of handling stolen goods and possession of cannabis with intent to supply.
He admitted the handling offences when he appeared at Leeds Crown Court but denied the drugs charge and instead admitted to an offence of allowing his premises to be used for the production or storage of controlled drugs.
He was jailed for three years, four months.
Detective Inspector Simon Jessup, of Leeds District Crime Team, said: “Hodgen is clearly someone who was heavily involved in handling stolen vehicles taken in burglaries at homes across the county and further afield.
“Behind every one of those incidents are the victims who have had to suffer the indignity of having their homes invaded and the financial loss and inconvenience of having their vehicles taken.
“People like Hodgen who are willing to handle stolen goods play a significant role in continuing to make the theft of cars in burglaries an attractive prospect for criminals. Without the handlers there would be no trade in stolen goods.
“We will continue to use every available tactic to target offenders like him who support the illicit activities of the burglars, while at the same time doing everything we can to catch and deter the burglars themselves.”